we all remember the oldest water heater known to man?

She has given considerable trouble over the short time I have lived here, not her fault, just that her parts have aged badly, all the rubber hoses in particular are badly perished.

Just look at the state of this hose, and the rest were just as bad.
Really, I'm surprised that she hung on this long.

Last week, however, the old girl really blew a gasket!

The tank has been overflowing since last Tuesday, 26th, with many litres of HOT water flowing down the sides, and running across the ground to be lost down the drain.

This was reported (twice, maybe three times) and eventually a maintenance man came out for a look, then it was classed as a non-emergency.  Well, pffft!!

I didn't think this was good enough, as we tenants are paying for the heating and storing of water which was running away as fast as it could.

I took a photo of the spillover and runaway puddle, and attached it to an email to the housing authority late on Wednesday evening.
On Thursday,  a real plumber (I recognised the logo on his shirt, the parent company is based in Sydney and I lived next door to the lovely couple who own it back when they were just getting started), came to examine the system and reports were made, decisions were sought, an apology was received from the housing authority who said they "hadn't realised the situation was this bad".
(after how many reports and complaints to maintenance?)

Today, Friday, two lovely young plumbers have arrived to remove the huge old girl and replace her with four much smaller individual water heaters.
They're out there right now with their radio blasting and their spot welder, pipes, wrenches etc.and an electrician mate who joined them about an hour ago.

There simply wasn't space for individual storage heaters like every other unit has, pictured below, so we are being supplied with instantaneous gas heaters.

This is fine with me, they only heat the water as you are using it, so there are no storage heating costs.
(I'm used to these, have had them in most of my homes all my life.
My dad was a plumber/gasfitter and put one in at every home we moved to.
(he fixed up every stove we had too))

So here is how it's going....

The old girl, disconnected and moved away from the wall.

Here is where she stood for god-knows-how-many-years.

Inside the old dear - these are the hoses that distributed the water as needed to each of our four flats.

The gas heater and electric pump that were attached to the front of the old girl.
You might remember from my previous post on this subject  that no one seemed to know the exact purpose of the electric pump. Well, I found out by listening in to the phone conversation the plumber was having with his boss.  The pump drew water from the tank and sent it through the gas unit to be heated then sent it back to the storage tank. There was a thermostat inside the tank and when the water had reached the required temperature the pump would switch off and start up again whenever the water temperature fell below a certain point.

The new water heaters still in their boxes.

Here are the new heaters hanging on the wall, not yet connected to anything.

Once the job is completed and the heaters are operational, I'll zip out there for a final photo and put it in here.


  1. Oh, I feel a bit sad for the old girl actually. She deserved a bit of a farewell party for all the good work she had done for so long.

    Those new heaters are really really good - much more economical and work particularly well. I can't believe the plumber in the last photo *isn't* sticking to the official Code of Conduct by NOT shocking us his crack!

  2. Kath is right. He cannot be a real plumber without his 'plumber's crack' on display. An apprentice perhaps?

    We have an instanteous gas hot water heater, and I love it. I hope the work is finished for you, before the weekend.

  3. Fk real estate agents give me the pip. Any issues such as this with hot water services MUST be repaired within 24 hours. Morons.

    I'm glad you've finally got some new ones. RIP old gal.

  4. Here's to no more hot water problems!

  5. I too feel a little sad for the poor old girl that has worked so hard over the years....I can empathise with her!!
    Actually when we moved here in 1974 we had a solid fuel hot water system which worked well for a while but before long we had installed a solar hot water system which has never let us down. It was made up by an engineering chap and after nearly 40 years it still heats our water to boiling point. Commercial solar HWSs often have a life of 10 years max but ours is (touch wood) still going well. Even earlier when I was a child we had a chip bath heater to warm our water for the bath (back in the 1940s) and my clever brother somehow adapted it so we could actually have a hot shower which was wonderful. So many old things were just so good and reliable.
    Hope you enjoy your gas heaters.

  6. HHHMMMmmm... are you SURE those plumbers are for real?? 'Plumber's Crack' is absolute proof of credentials - what's the world coming to when you don't get to see it??!!

  7. That is really sad. Vale Methuselah. The instant ones never used to be so great. You could choose between very hot water at slow flow, or faster flow but with cooler water. They are much better now.

  8. Kath Lockett; I suggested they take the Old Girl to a plumber's museum and put her on display in the name of plumbing history. They said she'd probably just get trashed.

    Elephant's Child; they were definitely real plumbers. I've always preferred the instantaneous heaters, they're so much more efficient.

    Fenstar; it's government housing, any problems are referred to the maintenance unit and then have to wait their turn. For this reason I haven't bothered letting them know the light in my range hood doesn't work. I don't want to be told I must be home just in case an electrician comes around. I went over their heads for this though and emailed the head office.

    Blossom; there shouldn't be any. These are excellent heaters.

    Mimsie; I remember the old chip heaters, we had one in Port Pirie in the 50s until my dad installed proper plumbing. Later in Murray Bridge there was the copper in the laundry and hot water had to be carried through to the bathroom by bucket. You were way ahead of your time with solar heating, well done!

    Red Nomad OZ; yes, they were real, the working heaters are testament to that.

    Andrew; in the past there was a problem with the pilot light getting blown out on windy days or nights which meant someone had to go out and push this button while holding down the other one to light it again. I got very good at that. The newer models have wind protection built in.

    All; I was VERY glad NOT to be seeing any plumber's cracks!!

  9. It's a relief that you've changed that water heater already, it's about time! Look how corroded the tank is and how much rust it has accumulated over the years. Can you imagine, you're using that water to take a bath, wash your dishes and many more. It can be source of a disease. Changing that would benefit everyone in the building. Elia Lester

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  17. Wow, I'm glad you got new water heaters because that one looked really old. My husband and I have been thinking about replacing ours. It is starting to look like the old one you had. I want to replace it before it completely shuts down or breaks and floods the basement. http://www.firstclassplumbinginc.com/hot-water-heaters.html


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